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Pravin Gordhan Tears Into Lynne Brown: 'Denial, Denial, Denial!'

The former finance minister said all Brown had to offer was denials in the face of serious allegations about state capture at Eskom.

23/11/2017 09:09 SAST | Updated 23/11/2017 09:09 SAST
Rogan Ward / Reuters
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan reacts during a South Africa Communist Party rally in Durban, South Africa, April 22, 2017.

Former finance minister and ANC MP Pravin Gordhan launched a bruising attack on Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown during the Parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom on Wednesday night.

Gordhan said Brown's only response to the allegations against her was "denial, denial, denial".

In a lengthy statement, Gordhan accused Brown of pleading innocence to a host of problems at the power utility. This included problems with the board, allegations that the Gupta family had captured the board, and that black companies like Exxaro were being victimised by Eskom.

According to Fin24, Gordhan said: "So, on the one side of the scale we have all the coal purchase controversies, the IT systems controversies, boards that are dominated by Gupta-linked people, suspensions of officials who are actually innocent, eventually, and the one who is actually implicated gets redeemed and comes back into Eskom," said Gordhan.

"You have problems with chairs, particularly Mr [Zola] Tsotsi, we have the articulation of section 217 of the Constitution on procurement as an important value system, if you like, that we need to subscribe to, but everything that we do seems to be violating that systematically.

"We say that we want more black companies to actually benefit from deals that Eskom makes, and yet a prominent and fairly large black listed company Exxaro -- and I hope the evidence leader will bring us that evidence - is being victimised at the moment, according the information that I have.

"You have the Dentons report -- the Dentons report was firstly locked up, Mr [Brian] Molefe doesn't read it, although he is the chief executive who should actually implement the Dentons report, you have the 'threat' issued to Mr Tsotsi, you have the R1.6bn illegal guarantee given by the CFO of Eskom Mr (Anoj) Singh.

"You have the Denel chair -- who actually attacked the National Treasury and the then minister publicly and there was no reprimand, but it is not surprising because he is listed in the Gupta emails as well.

"You have the prepayment that Mr Singh agreed to which eventually was used to buy these Optimum Holdings of some R600m. You have a fine of R2.1bn as we have heard on that mine reduced to R600m once Tegeta takes over those mines. You have the locomotive deal -- all of that is evidence on one side.

"And on the other side, as far as the public is concerned, all we have is denials. I end my case, thank you."

Brown had earlier denied accusations that she had a meeting with Gupta lieutenant Sallim Essa, Tony Gupta and former Eskom board chair Zola Tsotsi.

In a heated exchange with Gordhan, Brown said the Gupta companies were not blacklisted and that any allegations against them should be investigated.

Gordhan said it was unlikely that there would be prosecutions because of the capture of the NPA.

"And with the current affairs or situation where we have state capture -- it is alleged -- of even the prosecution authority, you are not going to get a court decision because you are not going to get a prosecution, so you don't get any blacklisting," he reportedly said.

Gordhan asked if Brown had any regrets about the state of Eskom.